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M r David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, wondered what to do

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about all the people coming from France into Britain and then claiming asylum; on one day, 44 refugees rushed into the Channel Tunnel after breaking through barbed-wire fencing;...

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L et us imagine that there are some Spectator readers who are members of the Tory party and who have not yet voted in the leadership contest, which concludes next week. They...

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A red-letter day last week, a brilliantly scarlet red-letter day: discovering two heroines under one roof in Derbyshire, one stuffed, the other aged 99 and zingingly alive. The...

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The new Tory leader must prepare to face down the enemy within

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PETER OBORNE 0 ne presumes that Lord Tebbit woke up in a buoyant frame of mind at his home last Sunday morning. The 5-1 hammering meted out to the Germans must have lifted his...

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If the problem is asylum-seekers, the solution must not be identity cards

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MATTHEW PARRIS D ear Sir, am I alone in thinking. As a preamble to a reader's letter, or the opening sentence in a hack columnist's weekly offering, 'Am I alone in thinking......

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Ross Clark says that we should be proud and grateful that protectionism on the Continent makes asylum-seekers choose Britain for a fresh start THOUGH puny in its scale, the...

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Mind your language

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JEFFREY ARCHER's former editor, Richard Cohen, wrote some fascinating stuff in the Telegraph the other day about his task. But he was, in my opinion, unnecessarily harsh about...

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DJ. Taylor says that in a world of political illiteracy, we should all take cover at the mention of 'liberal principles' NOT long ago I decided to amuse myself by compiling a...

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Ancient & modern

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OPPONENTS of despots like Robert Mugabe face serious problems. The Roman statesman and philosopher Cicero can help. When civil war broke out between Pompey and Caesar in 49 BC,...


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Bruce Anderson believes that a continued Nato presence is the best hope for Macedonia Skopje THE dirt track hardly seemed wide enough for a mule, yet it was busy with car...

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Anton La Guardia says that only security will allow the Israelis to trust the Palestinians AT the check-in for an El Al flight at BenGurion airport, there is a young woman who...

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Mark Steyn on the racist blacks who see rich pickings in white guilt over sins real and imagined New Hampshire THERE is no great issue facing the world today that can't be...

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Andrew Gimson says that the true Tory traditionalist in this race is Ken Clarke, not kin Duncan Smith WHEN lain Duncan Smith said on Sunday that the Conservative party might...

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Dinner ladies

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THE urban dinner party, even one artlessly described as 'kitchen supper', is a very tricky affair. As hostess, you have to convince your guests that you just rustled it up...

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Choosing one's favourite town is not as easy as it looks

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PAUL JOHNSON T his year, for unavoidable reasons, we were in London for the Carnival, which perambulates dangerously near our house. The event strengthens my growing distaste...

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Why the Guardian and the Observer are not singing from the same hymn sheet over Northern Ireland

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STEPHEN GLOVER H ow sad it is to discover that one's gentle advice has gone unheeded. Over a year ago I pointed out that the Guardian's line on Northern Ireland was sometimes...

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Women and the Tories

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From Mrs Katie Grant Sir: Peta Buscombe ('Sometimes it's hard to be a Tory woman', 1 September) appears to think it enough to trot out that tired old Tory canard that women...

From Mr Alistair Cooke Sir: At Michael Heseltine's suggestion Peta

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Buscombe came to see me at Conservative Central Office in the early 1990s when I was running the Conservative Political Centre (CPC) — now renamed (unnecessarily) the...

Old hat from Duncan Smith

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From Mr John Bourn Sir: I am growing weary of reading claims in the right-wing press that lain Duncan Smith has put forward 'fresh new ideas' for improving the public services....

Socialism means dictatorship

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From Mr Oleg Gordievsky Sir: In the discussion about socialism and liberalism (Letters, 1 September), one important point ought not to be forgotten. The most central and...

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South Africa's new apartheid

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From Mr J.L. Rushburne Sir: So the ANC government in South Africa is hosting a world conference on combating racism ('White is right', 25 August). The hypocrisy of this project,...

From Mr Roger Brown Sir: Andrew Kenny fails to mention

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that the Atlantic slave trade, engendered by white Europeans, was responsible for the export of ten million black Africans in horrific circumstances — an early Holocaust. It was...

From Mr Chris Carmichael Sir: Andrew Kenny suggests that the

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campaign against slavery was prompted 'by Christian conscience'. This is tenuously true, but the great impetus to abolitionism resulted from the age of scientific enlightenment...

Ageing makes you fat

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From Margaret Miller Sir: Ninety per cent of men advertising for 'true love' require that women be thin ('My love agony' by David Lovibond, 25 August). Because they are in...

Saladin days

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From Mr Bernard Goodwin Sir: James Delingpole (Arts, 18 August) repeats one of the common fallacies of current political correctness about the Crusades, when he says that...

Jobs for asylum-seekers

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From Mr R. Reed Sir: Why is it that politicians from David Blunkett to Ann Widdecombe all agree that the genuine asylum-seeker should be allowed to stay, yet all economic...

Hitler and Queen Mother

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From Mr Andrew Roberts Sir: David Irving's defence of his claim in his second volume of Churchill's War that the Queen Mother supported a peace deal with Hitler in 1940 — that...

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V&A has lips of Mae

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From Mr WC. Gore Sir: Martin Gayford in his review of the Roland Penrose exhibition at Edinburgh (Arts, 25 August) states that the Edward Jones collection 'went under the hammer...

Miss Austen's fruit and veg

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From Mr Michael Grosvenor Myer Sir: Simon Courtauld, in his interesting piece on apricots (Arts, 1 September), has misremembered the conversation at dinner in Mansfield Park. Dr...

Our multicultural cuisine

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From Jane Kelly Sir: John Ware's pessimistic view that British people eat only tasteless, boring rubbish cannot be true ('Figs ain't what they used to be', 1 September). This...

From Mr Dominic Low Sir: British food has always been

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international. The Raj brought curry back from India, and the traders tea. We took India Pale Ale out there, and much more. The Spanish brought mangoes to the West Indies from...

Einstein's military insight

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From Lieutenant Colonel D.M.C. Rose Sir: Albert Einstein said that to keep trying the same thing over and over with the expectation of a different result is the definition of...

Moore hair advice

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From Mr Chris White Sir: Charles Moore (Diary, 28 July) will be relieved to learn that I have found a shampoo for his oily hair. It sells under the brand name 'American Crew',...

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Cash buyers for the new economy's debris, and a baleful signal from Marconi

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CHRISTOPHER FILDES A ,y offers for 200 miles of armoured submarine cable across the English Channel and the North Sea? For a national digital and analogue communications...

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A pavement of good intentions

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Philip Ziegler PEACEMAKERS: THE PARIS CONFERENCE OF 1919 AND ITS ATTEMPT TO END WAR by Margaret MacMillan John Murray, £25.00, pp. 496 ISBN 0719559391 C onsidering the history...

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On and off his professional beat

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Raymond Carr PLEASING MYSELF by Frank Kermode Allen Lane. £20.00, pp. 277 ISBN 0713995181 I n this collection of long review essays, Sir Frank Kermode, our most distinguished...

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An editor's frustrating titillation

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Douglas Murray SEXUALLY SPEAKING: COLLECTED SEX WRITINGS by Gore Vidal, edited by Donald Weise Cleis Press, £19.99, pp. 280 ISBN 1573440825 S exually Speaking consists, so we...

Three strands intertwined

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John de Falbe DARK BACK OF TIME by Javier Marias New Directions, I:19.75, pp. 336 ISBN 0811214664 A lthough Javier Marfas has sold nearly two million books in Europe, he is not...

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Artfully selected scenes

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P. J. Kavanagh COMPANY by John Montague Duckworth, £14.99, pp. 190 ISBN 0715630164 T he Irish poet John Montague has written an aptly titled memoir, because it mainly concerns...

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A baggy brief for the famous

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Harry Mount SIGHTLINES edited by P. D. James and Harriet Harvey Wood Vintage, .f7.99, pp. 392 ISBN 0099422824 R ay Charles can apparently tell the size of a woman's breasts by...

From a view to

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a death Jane Ridley HOUND MUSIC by Rosalind Belben Chatto & Hindus, £15.99, pp. 306 ISBN 0701172770 T his is a subtle, brilliant and paradoxical novel. Rosalind Belben writes...

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Dodo or phoenix?

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Peter Thorold LONDON IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY: A CITY AND ITS PEOPLE by Jerry White Viking £20.00, pp.544 ISBN 0670891398 J erry White was chief executive of the borough of...

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The art of public rejoicing

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Patrick Skene Catling FESTIVAL OF BRITAIN edited by Elain Harwood and Alan Powers Twentieth Century Society, £15.00, pp. 176 ISBN 0952975564 A I we want is a bank balance and a...

Old tricks from the old dog

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D. J. Taylor THE VETERAN by Frederick Forsyth Bantam, £16.99, pp. 367 ISBN 059304892X T here comes a time in the career of many a male thriller writer when stylisation — that...

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A bit of a Boojum

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Rupert Christiansen LUCKY HIM: THE LIFE OF KINGSLEY AMIS by Richard Bradford Peter Owen, £22.50, pp. 432 ISBN 0720611172 T here's a sting in the tail of Martin Amis's wonderful...

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Books for boys

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Charles Mitchell HE KILLS COPPERS by Jake Arnott Sceptre, £10.00, pp.327 ISBN 0340748796 THE FIFTH WOMAN by Henning Mankell Hamill, £16.99, pp. 437 ISBN 1860468535 A SPY BY...

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Whose friend was he?

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Sylvana Tomaselli ECONOMIC SENTIMENTS: ADAM SMITH, CONDORCET AND THE ENLIGHTENMENT by Emma Rothschild Harvard, £30.95, pp. 353 ISBN 0674004892 A dam Smith's The Wealth of...

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Covent Garden dinosaur

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Paul Webb believes that London's Theatre Museum is in need of a makeover Act One, Scene One: Covent Garden, one of the most popular areas for tourists and Londoners alike to...

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Monstrous and bizarre

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Nicholas Powell H astily rebuilt after the war and hardly the most awesomely attractive of cities, Rotterdam must have a job on its hands drawing visitors as Cultural Capital...

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Heightened effects

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Mark Steyn W hen I was 19, I lived next door to a couple of strippers, who were maybe six or seven years older and always very sweet to me. I hadn't thought about them for a...

Tawdry trawling

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Sheridan Morley F ortunately — at least for my blood pressure — I cannot remember the last time I left a theatre, least of all the enchanting home-from-home Jermyn •Street,...

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Marred by conceit

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Michael Tanner H ow unsophisticated is it, I wondered as I watched Act I of Scottish Opera's new production of Die Walkiire, the second instalment of its complete Ring cycle,...

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Buy me a bootlace tie

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Marcus Berkmann C urious though this may seem, the words 'country music' can make some people shudder involuntarily and others run screaming from the room, never to return....

Seeds of doubt

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Michael Vestey F ifty years ago next August much of the village of Lynmouth on the north Devon coast was washed away by torrents of flood water pouring off Exmoor. Nine inches...

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Desperate measures

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Simon Ho gg art S oapstars (ITV) is the follow-up to Popstars, the programme which launched Hear'Say. the group with the annoying apostrophe. It is designed to make people...

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Wise counsel

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Robin Oakley R acing people do their bit for charity, and not just with their involuntary contributions to sunset homes for retired bookies on the Costa Lona. At glorious...

Spy drive

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Alan Judd W hich car should the contemporary James Bond drive? Forget the sort of armour-plated, four-wheel-drive musclemonsters favoured by recent film-makers, The suave...

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Prole position

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Taki Rougemont hy, when those of us who actually fought the Germans in 1939-45 have long buried the hatchet, must our tabloid newspapers incite British yobs to hate them?' asks...

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Fantasy football

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Jeremy Clarke A rc we playing the Hun?' said Uncle Jack for about the 50th time. (He's 93 and has a short memory.) We are, Uncle,' I said. Then, exactly at the moment when...

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Simon Hoggart

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WHAT a treat, on a hot summer's day, to be in Southwold. This is a lovely seaside town in Suffolk, described as a funky version of Frinton. It's dominated by Adnams, the brewers...

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Football's Osric

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Simon Barnes DOST know this water-fly? There was a time when, had you not known him, your state would have been more gracious, for 'twas a vice to know him. The fop, the dandy,...

Q. May I pass on a tip to readers? I

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always take a minicab to Heathrow (from my house in Kensington) for the obvious reason that it is cheaper than a black cab. On the return journey, however, it is difficult to...

Q. When holding a glass of champagne at receptions where

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a speech is being given, I often wonder what one is supposed to do about clapping. It seems to me that you can either playfully pat the hand holding the champagne and thus risk...

Q. With the terrible spectre of 'networking' hovering over so

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many social events these days, I have begun to feel that it might perhaps have become less acceptable than it was to ask new people one meets at parties what they do. The...

Q. A friend of mine has had three little boys

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in quick succession and I am godmother to one of them. My problem is that I cannot remember which one is my godson. This is not so bad as it sounds as, since I live in Norfolk,...